Today Liz Truss made a huge u-turn and scrapped the 45p rate of higher income tax amid not only a Conservative revolt but also a wide scale condemnation in the media.
Interestingly it was only 24 hours ago when she spoke to politics titan Laura Kuenessburg and defended the mini budget and the changes to the higher rate of income tax. In terms of her reputation so far as prime minister, it does not look good.
Following on from Boris Johnson, she was always going to face huge scrutiny. But since she came into power her reputation has taken a huge nosedive. The mini budget has been the biggest issue – as scrapping the higher rate of tax whilst the country is facing a cost of living crisis was seen as hugely ignorant.
Her bullish defence of it on the BBC yesterday is interesting as today the idea has been scrapped. This is confusing for the general public as the conversation has changed so much in 24 hours. Despite the u-turn, the damage has been done and her reputation is suffering. On Saturday, this was one of the headlines in the Guardian:
Liz Truss has a huge uphill battle ahead to navigate as the country is edging towards a recession and needs a unifying element to it. With the sad passing of the Queen who was a popular and unifying Head of State, there has never been more of a need for stability.
However, we can see just by analysing the social trends and conversation around Liz Truss and her government, that it will not be easy. The Conservative party are trending downwards and have been so for quite some time, with the removal of Boris Johnson a key indicator of that.
Liz Truss herself is the victim of previous things she has said that are available online which is another reminder that your past can often come back to haunt you. She gave a speech when she was much younger in which she called for the monarchy to be abolished. Of course this looked particularly terrible as it surfaced just before the Queen’s death which made it seem so much worse to the public.
Of course with her job as a public servant and continual analysis, Liz Truss can expect to have her life and work scrutinised- it is part of being in the public eye. However, we can learn lessons from it- how to (and how not to!) deal with public scrutiny and how to manage the conversation.
- Don’t assume your past will not resurface – things you may have said or written in the past that are controversial or damaging can often reappear. It is wise to take steps to mitigate that, especially if you are in the public eye. It is common to say things that are immature or inflammatory as a young person, but these days it is more difficult for those to be forgotten as everything ends up on social media. If you are young yourself or have teenage children, remember this and don’t overshare. It may come back to haunt you.
- Changing your mind is fine but in the public eye it is difficult. For Liz Truss the difficulty in changing her mind about the tax cut is that she did it with the world watching and analysing. That is very potent. However, the same issues crop up often in business and can be just as intense. As a business owner or CEO you may find that you may need to make difficult decisions that are often under huge scrutiny. Managing the conversation and handling things carefully can make a huge difference in your reputation to both your employees and your clients.
These are just some of the issues that we can help you with, whether you are in the public eye or not. If you need advice in how to build your brand or how to navigate public opinion, we can help.
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